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My productivity tips for moms come from a place of been there, done that.
I launched myself into motherhood by going back to school, starting a business from nothing, all while struggling with what would later be confirmed Postpartum Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
It was a rough start. Especially as a new mom to twins. I quickly found myself doing all of the research in an attempt to learn how to “do it all”. On that journey, I’ve learned one very important lesson.
The Truth About Productivity in Motherhood
You can’t do it all.
You can’t, that girl with the beautiful feed on Instagram can’t, I can’t. No one can do it all. Not in the literal sense, anyway.
But there are a few key tips to learning what true productivity is inside of motherhood. Aka, my productivity tips for moms that I’m about to spill.
First, you have to have a talk with yourself and establish what exactly productive means to you.
I’ve tried all of the productivity hacks for moms out there, trust me. I’ve done time blocking, I’ve set schedules, I’ve created routine after routine and so much more. I’ve tried the morning hustle, the nap time grind, and the night owl rush. They all work in their own individual ways, and some might work better for you than others, but ultimately what everything circles back to is your own definition of productivity.
Productivity can’t simply be defined as “doing it all”.
Sometimes, the most productive thing you can do is UNproductive. Or seen that way. Like rest, taking care of yourself, etc.
You have to have a talk with yourself and establish what exactly productivity means to you.
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How to Do it ALL in Motherhood
Okay, well if I can’t do it all, then wtf do I do?
You do the things that both make you happy as well as what keeps your essential needs met.
Essential needs might be waking up in order to get to work on time, accomplishing work tasks, grabbing groceries, or making it to doctors appointments.
Then what makes you happy might be NOT cleaning the house every day, starting your day off with a coffee and some calm before the chaos begins, or maybe ending the day with a book to ease your mind.
Once you’ve established what your productive goal is, comes my real productivity tips for moms.
Setting your priorities relates back to that fundamental question of what productivity means to YOU, and jotting your priorities based on YOU.
Pinterest might tell you that your home cleaning routine should be run through weekly, but come on. Do what works for you and what keeps you SANE. For myself as an example, I don’t need a constantly clean home. But I do need a tidied-up one to keep happy and keep my clumsy self out of the hospital. So on my daily to-do is a quick tidy. Nothing perfect, sparkling, and bleach clean. But it’s good enough for ME and that is what matters.
Aside from priorities that are just for you and your sanity are the ones that meet your essential needs. Those just have to be thrown into your life in order to stay productive with a roof over your head and full bellies.
Actually SLEEP & EAT
After setting your priorities comes meeting your needs at a fundamental level. In order to be productive in motherhood, you have to get some rest and eat.
One of the greatest productivity tips for moms that I’ll stand by until the end of time is the necessity of basic sleep. You will burn out SO fast without it, lose your temper without it, and frankly not be an enjoyable person in life without it. If you really want to grind out what you have to do, and stay sane while doing so, you gotta rest and you gotta eat.
Start with a To-Do List
When it comes to my actual DAYS, getting a to-do list in order is a must. Now that I’ve gone over establishing your priorities and such, you are totally able to sit down and put together a to-do list that fits your needs and helps you with that productive mom lifestyle we all want.
I start every single day (even weekends!) with my little notebook, pen, and an iced coffee. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit and that is what makes me feel like I’ve really started my day!
To put my to-do list in order, I jot down everything that should happen that day. I also have a planner that I add to as events/projects/etc come up and add those as they come up. Timed events (like zoom meetings, appts, etc) I place at the top of my list and usually circle to help remind myself of the event, but aside from that it is just a simple list. I work through what I can when I can.
Encourage Independent Play
One of the best productivity tips for moms you’ll ever hear- train your dang kids! From the get-go, I have encouraged my twins (now 2.5) to play independently. Obviously, they can’t do everything by themselves, but things like encouraging stimulating tummy time when they’re babies or letting them go wild with kitchen utensils when they’re one, to fun backyard toys when they’re toddlers are great ways to find the time to be productive.
Do LESS (aka be realistic!)
Then comes my final productivity tip for moms, you gotta be realistic. Remember when I pounded it into your head that you can’t possibly do everything? That involves getting realistic. You can’t do it all because frankly there isn’t enough time in the day. So instead, be realistic. What CAN you do between wake time and breakfast? What CAN you do with the set amount of work time you have in a day? What CAN you do during the two hour nap time chunk?
Start by thinking about your to-do list in time chunks. How much time does that morning coffee and plan the day chunk take? Can it be easily done while the kids eat breakfast for example?
I hope these tips I’ve shared help you both by becoming more productive in motherhood, but also help you establish what productivity really means to YOU.